The Dark Truth About Driving
When it comes to police officers pulling over minorities for discriminatory reasons, the causal chain that follows has proven to be extremely controversial and sometimes even fatal. These looming problems could be non existent if officers used their authority properly on a consistent basis. The specific issue at hand exists in the first place because police officers in today’s society do not always use their discretion to pull drivers over simply for issues relating to the law, but rather because of their discriminatory mentality. Christopher Ingraham claims that “approximately a two percent higher amount of blacks than whites are actually not even given a reason for why they have been pulled over when they get stopped,” in his article, “You Really Can Get Pulled Over For Driving While Black, Federal Statistics Show.” Two percent may not sound extremely high, but when the percentage of whites not given a reason is only at 2.6, then it is almost double the amount of blacks that go through the same thing.
The causal chain that tends to occur in this situation is that discriminating police officers pulling over a higher number of minorities than any other group, then leads to these minorities resenting police officers because they abuse their authority. In addition to that, whether the driver or officer are being particularly way too difficult at the time, things have taken an abrupt, violent turn for the worst.
The Constitution begins by stating that “all men are equal”, yet the society we live in has proven that although it is in The Constitution, it is still far from true. In relation to discrimination by officers potentially turning violent, it is important to understand that the discrimination does not just stop when the car is pulled over. Much like how The Constitution states that all men are equal but still are not treated equally, the 14th Amendment provides equal protection and not allowing discrimination while driving, but that is also not applied consistently. As a nation, we cannot be oblivious and neglect the fact that regardless of what The Constitution may say, law enforcement does not faithfully abide to it. Minorities are referred to as such because there are less of them in our country than whites. Nevertheless, more blacks are pulled over than whites. Minorities making up the majority of people pulled over is a staggering statistic that should not be overlooked.
Just a few months ago, an African-American man named Philando Castile was shot and killed by a police officer in his car in Minnesota. The car was pulled over for a broken taillight, which is understandable. Nevertheless, the man had a 5 year old girl in the back seat when the officer shot him. There was a woman in the passenger seat that started recording the situation on her phone after shots were fired, and her statement explaining the killing was that, ”he let the officer know that he had a firearm and he was reaching for his wallet and the officer just shot him in his arm,” Elliot McLaughlin reports in his article, “Woman Streams Aftermath of Fatal Officer-Involved Shooting.” He had a permit for the gun and went out of his way to make the officer aware he had it. It may not be known how this would have unfolded had the driver been white, but taking into consideration that the society we live in today is full of discrimination and hate, most people would believe that this officer was slightly more on-edge and trigger-happy due to the color of the man on the opposite end of the barrel.
The issue does not just begin and end with a simple traffic stop, either. “The racial disparity isn’t just limited to stops. Other police-driver contact — searches, tickets, arrests and license suspensions — show similar racial skews,” according to Kim Soften in “The Big Question About Why Police Pull Over So Many Black Drivers.” This is what leads to the majority of these minorities resenting and not respecting the authority. Many of them may have to deal with ensuing legal issues after getting pulled over, that would not have happened had this epidemic been a thing of the past.
As far as the anticipated rebuttals to this argument go, it is clear that not everybody shares a similar viewpoint on this topic. If everybody had the same mindset about it, it probably would not be a problem. Some rebuttals are indisputably true as well, such as the fact that African American police officers pull over black people as well, so it is unlikely a man would discriminate against someone the same color as him. Nevertheless, with that being said, that does not account for every single traffic stop. It is an exception to the discriminatory pattern of white against black, but yet it cannot be ignored that the percentage of those occurrences is minuscule in relation to the typical white cop, black driver scenario.
In conclusion, as much as our nation would probably like to say that discrimination was a thing of the past, it is not. These are real issues and racism is still alive. Just because it does not come in the visual form of segregation in the early 1900s, does not mean it is gone and over with. It is clearly unknown what it will take to change the discriminatory mindset of the people in our society today, but at this rate it looks like we are on pace to set our country back 100 years and something must be done about it. Yes, we have had a black president, but it is as if we took one step forward and two steps back by now electing a man who openly makes racist and discriminatory remarks in many of his debates and press conferences. There were actually riots when Obama was elected. This shows that a good amount of this country was not ready for a black president. If racial profiling still happened under a black president, they certainly will not improve or just go away under the government of a man who sustains a discriminatory mentality.
Soften, Kim. “The Big Question About Why Police Pull Over So Many Black Drivers” The Washington Post. 08 July 2016. Web. 30 Oct. 2016
Ingraham, Christopher. “You Really Can Get Pulled Over For Driving While Black, Federal Statistics Show” The Washington Post. 09 Sept. 2014. Web. 30 Oct. 2016
McLaughlin, Elliot. “Woman Streams Aftermath of Fatal Officer-Involved Shooting” CNN. 08 July, 2016. Web. 06 Nov. 2016